Home > Local Church News > Kawana Waters Uniting Church welcomed Mercy Ships founder

Kawana Waters Uniting Church welcomed Mercy Ships founder

Rev Barbara Bailey and Don Stephens greeting a congregation member following the service.

Kawana Waters Uniting Church had a special visitor on November 16 when Don Stephens, Founder and International President of Mercy Ships, spoke about the work done by volunteers from Australia among 40 nations around the world since 1978.

Don and Deyon Stephens were on a brief trip to the Sunshine Coast, Newcastle and Sydney to meet supporters and volunteers as part of the organisation’s 30th anniversary celebrations; as well as visiting the Australian support office located at Caloundra.

“We all need hope, and because God has provided that hope through Jesus for us, we have opportunity to take that hope to others,” Stephens said. “The message of hope is at the very core of what all volunteers serving with Mercy Ships seek to bring to the world’s poor. The poorest of all live in West Africa where current emphasis is being made”

Stephens told of the work, based on the example of Jesus in demonstrating the ongoing love of God for all people. “As Jesus commenced his public ministry he read from the book of the prophet Isaiah and told the gathered people that the scripture was being filled as he announced God’s plan to ‘preach the gospel to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, preach deliverance to the captives, recover sight to the blind, and to set free those in sin’. Mid-way through his ministry when John the Baptist had doubts about Jesus as the promised Messiah, Jesus told John’s followers to go and report on what they saw Jesus doing in fulfilling the words of the prophet.

“As he approached the final Passover meal with his disciples, Jesus again spoke of the underlying principle of Christian service to others with the well known words ‘As you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me’.”

The Kawana Waters church has had close links with the work of Mercy Ships since the Australian support office was re-established by congregation members, Brian and Lynn Ross, with support from many others. Brian was National Director for six years until two years ago, with Lynn providing administrative services. Recently Brian also resigned from the Australian Board of Directors.

During their visit to the Sunshine Coast Don and Deyon made presentations to both in recognition of their efforts, which also included connections with the former Mercy Ships base in Newcastle, NSW, and time onboard one of the earlier ships, the Island Mercy.

Photo : Rev Barbara Bailey and Don Stephens greeting a congregation member following the service.